Monthly Archives: December 2008

And Thus Spake Upendra…

After like what seems to be an eternity, I went to watch a Kannada movie in a theatre. Paid 125 bucks and went to see the UPENDRA starrer Budhivantha!!! Some people called me insane. Some were plain shocked. Some gave advice which amounted to the movie being disgusting. When enquired further, none of them had watched the movie in the first place and were yet commenting confidently! I guess that’s got to do mainly with what many consider highly irritating, rhythmic and annoying song which is widely related with the word “Chitranna”! And maybe also because it involves Upendra. But either way, in spite of all their well intended advice, I ended up going to the movie, largely due to the fact that it involved Upendra and that he had written his dialogues himself!

Now the theme of the movie was known to me before I went into the theatre. Upendra would be accused of cheating 5 women and the entire movie is essentially a court room drama with intermittent flashbacks. The movie has a good storyline to hang on till the end. But what disrupts the story every now and then are the innumerable songs-essentially one for each girl he dupes and then one for his own introduction. The acting of most of the actors seemed quite natural with the female section actually exhibiting some good acting skills. All females are pretty glam throughout, what with the necessarily higher than knee dress size limit and the really well picturized song sequences. The director has really portrayed his expertise in this field by indulging in the glamorous while not crossing the line to the erotic.

But perhaps the high point of the movie is in the dialogues with Upendra clearly stealing the show with his impeccable Dakshin Kannada accent during the entire trial as he cleverly rebuffs each of the 5 women. But personally, the highlight of the entire movie was clearly the blatant mockery of Telugu Cinema making! I wouldn’t mind paying 125 bucks again just to watch that sequence of action- Telugu style-complete with white shirts and dhotis, bombs arbitrarily going off in the background and the intense rivalry between two jewellery-claden Gult millionaires! Anyone will die laughing when watching the mockery-with the ending of the scene providing the icing on the cake! I wont spoil it for you-but go watch it yourself.(Oh BTW, there is a direct flick of the Kill Bill soundtrack when Upendra gets into a fight in the jail-it is the siren like piece of music)

Upendra’s character has definitely lived up to his true acting skills and on the whole I loved the movie-even if it meant I had to sit through a never ending list of songs including CHITRANNA! Perhaps the only let down of the movie lay in the dialogue synchronization or the lack of it. Sometimes it would get real irritating with the lips saying something and something else being heard.  But it was obvious from the beginning that Kannada cinema making still has a long way to go before it reaches maturity in terms of direction and screenplay. Cliched dialogues, predictable outcomes of sequences will have to go for newer styles of film making. Upendra was definitely one person who lived up to the change that Kannada Film Industry needed in all his directorial ventures.

Needless to say, the movies UPENDRA and A, directed and starred by Upendra himself, are very easily the best kannada movie I have ever seen! The different themes and styles of dialogue delivery have in fact given them cult status! Perhaps, the still in UPENDRA which proclaims that the Editing, Screenplay, Music, Lyrics, Dialogue, Choreography, Production and Direction were all credited to Upendra is definitely testimonial to his immense and diverse talent. If you do not know kannada, then I strongly recommend you learn this language just to be able to watch and understand the movie. (Oh BTW, translations or subtitles don’t work here!) Even his other movies- Operation Antha, Shhh!, OM are all well made movies and can be watch any number of times! But it has been quite some time since he has gone on a directorial venture. And so when I watched him on a Kannada TV channel answering the question that has been on every Upendra fan’s mind-that is when is he going to direct a movie next?- he gave a reply that is worthy of a true professional. I cant quote exactly but this is what he effectively said:

“I am not going to hurry in any way. I am not going to venture into anything until I know exactly what I am doing completely. I need to know each and every aspect of a movie completely before I can start directing. When I give something to the people, I want it to be really good. This takes time and I don’t know when it is going to happen myself. Hopefully it will be sooner than later…”

If it was a wasted director like Karan Johar or Yash Chopra, the reply would have been something like -“It is already underway…and then I am starting one more. Then there is one more. So you will have 3 by this year itself. I am sure one of them will definitly be a hit!”

But Upendra definitely knows better. He will never venture into a directorial role just to dole out another movie. (I have to say this reminds me of Tarantino!)  I would rather wait for years together to watch a film like Upendra or A instead of getting to watch wasted movies like Rab ne bana Di whatever or any of the other similar movies with SRK playing out the chewed cud character.

So, as a strong Upendra follower, I will wait patiently till Upendra comes out with another movie as good as UPENDRA!!

What I hope to Accomplish….

Ok, this is now official. Of late, I am having extremely less to totally non-existent time to write a meaningful post. Thanks largely to my highly cumbersome Application process for MS in US and UK and my ever-fluctuating internet connection at home. But rest assured, for I shall toil day and night to pump some life into my one and only medium of connectivity to the outside world! So, in order to maintain some sort of decorum with regard to my frequency (and more importantly, the quality)of posting, I decided to give my esteemed (implied non-existent) readers, a brief glimpse into what they are in for, in the near future. For quite some time now, I have been wanting to write about a lot of things, but somehow never got around to doing it. So now, I shall proudly present to you, the very very exciting topics on which I have decided to shed some light on. And so, in no particular order, here goes:

1) My long due second post on LaTeX: This time, I will be uploading all the resource material I have on LaTeX, hoping to contribute to the “ILLUMINATION OF MY GENERATION”. I have already uploaded all the PDF files into my WordPress account and I just need to type out the new post.

2) Anatomy of a South Indian Wedding: After a really long time, I recently had the opportunity to witness, first hand, the nuances of a South Indian Wedding, where I came across certain details that has really inspired me to write a post about.

3) My first South Park Script: Ok this is actually going to happen. And it is going to happen much sooner (with regard to NEVER) than I expected. I am done with at least 1/3rd of the Script and I plan to ask for suggestions on how to continue from all you guys.

4) Why India will never progress: Yeah I will be writing about something I have absolutely no control on. It is about something my dad just casually remarked and that got me thinking. It is about the idea of a PUNISHMENT.

5) Some interesting stuff I came up on the Internet

6) My Last 24 hours at NITK: I know it has been already quite long. But I feel I can still write and recreate the last day of my stay at NITK.

7) The really really long overdue post on my trek to Kodachadari or How Masai, got drunk, got high and almost humped the whores!

8) A post titled “My Experiments with Alcohol”, which I believe is quite self-explanatory.

So there you go. Something that you can really hope to see in the near future. Actually if you find even half of the above topics in the next one year, then you know your life has been worth it!

Some Irony…

Ever since I can remember, Audio Systems have amazed me. Thanks to my Dad sharing my interest, my house has seen a total of 4 Hi-Fi Music Systems. In addition to that, I bought a music system for my computer- ADCOM 5.1. But it just gave stereo sound as I hadn’t purchased a sound card. It was decent sound and I was happy. That was until I saw CREATIVE 4.1 at my friend’s place. Since then, I have always wanted to buy the CREATIVE Speakers for my Computer. But unfortunately, as I had already owned one system for my computer and the money factor, I wasn’t able to buy that. Dejected though i was, I never gave up my desire to buy one in the end.

Now I have enough money in my own account and I get to say how to spend it. And so a few days back, I went and bought the damn CREATIVE 5.1 Speakers along with the Sound Card. Cost me a total of 5k. And it exceeded my expectations! Crystal Clear Sound! Deadly Bass! What more could I ask for? I have played practically all the songs that I always had been wanting to hear on my own CREATIVE 5.1. And each of them rocked!

But tomorrow I will be packing this CREATIVE Speakers of mine. Thats because I bought this-not for myself- but for the Restaurant that my Dad is running. I don’t know what to say. I wait so long to get my own CREATIVE 5.1, purchase it with my own money but its just not going to stay. So instead of blaring out Tool, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other classics, from tomorrow, my CREATIVE Speakers will be slave to some banal contemporary Bollywood shit. (Alas! I couldn’t convince my Dad otherwise)

And so with a heavy heart, I say good bye to something that I always so badly wanted, something I finally got, and something that will be put to the most inferior use ever.

DAMN…

Jethro Tull in Bangalore: A Concert Review

And it finally happened! I was finally able to see Jethro Tull performed live less than ten feet from me! Front row for Jethro Tull concert in Bangalore: couldn’t have asked for more…

I reached Palace grounds at around 6:15 in the evening with the show slated to begin at 7:30. After making a dash to the entry gates, Logik and I realized that it was not too late at all and so we found ourselves-for all practical purposes-standing in the front row. Soon the whole place was packed and I guess the attendance to the Bangalore Jethro Tull concert must have touched the 10k mark. The first thing that I noticed was the crowd and more importantly, the people covering a diverse age group. There were 5 year old kids and 75+ year old men. And this was perhaps the primary reason for a subdued energy level in the crowd compared to all the previous concerts that have taken place in Bangalore. So while I was really pumped up to scream my lungs out, I felt my enthusiasm would not really be shared by all those around me.  But nevertheless, the show started and for the first time in the history of Event Management in Bangalore, the show started 20 minutes ahead of time!!!! Thats right! IaN Anderson himself came out at 7:10 to introduce Anoushka Shankar and her troupe of musicians who would perform the first act. And as soon as Anoushka Shankar started playing  her sitar, I was mind-blown!

Firstly, how can one make sitar playing look so damn easy? And secondly, did you get a look at her fingers? I did, and they were pretty damn long-esp the pinky! And so the nimble-fingered Anoushka went on to play Raag Jog and followed it with Raag Panchamsigara-composed by her father- and both were filled with exquisite blends of melody and skill. It was indeed a real treat to watch her play!

And then came the time everyone were waiting for. Tull finally took stage, with Ian Anderson opening the set with My Sunday Feeling. And as he began singing, I then realized why some people had been telling me that his voice is well past his prime. But in spite of that constraint, his singing was in perfect harmony and in tune. Immediately after that, David’s bass piece sounded the intro to Living in The Past. One of the real rock songs that I have ever heard being played right in front of me by the men themselves. It was a moment to remember.

“We’ll keep on living in the past…”

The band then went on to play Serenade to a Cuckoo- an instrumental originally written by Rahsaan Roland Kirk- and played it to perfection. I have to say, in spite of his voice being past his prime, Ian Anderson played his flute and guitar to perfection- each and every note! NURSIE was the next song and this originally short song was extended thanks to Martin Barre’s extended lead. Soon after, he announced Mick Jagger-Sir Mick Jagger-one of the greatest rock musicians turned 65 recently and screamed into Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll! The entire crowd sang along for this one and I was simply just happy to be there watching Tull play.

A New Day Yesterday was next up and I was praying they would play Sossity You’re a Woman, Budapest or Heavy Horses. And I didn’t have to wait for long for them to churn out Thick as a Brick and again, as the whole crowd seemed to sing along, I was again just happy to shut up and listen to Anderson. I didn’t really know that the flute sound that appears in the intro is actually from the keyboard until I saw them do so.  Soon after that, Anderson amused the crowd with his knowledge about Global Warming and Carbon Footprints and how we needed to get back to using the HEAVY HORSES!  This was one song I was really hoping to hear them play and they belted out the entire number- all of the long song with everything falling into place perfectly! That one song really made my evening worth it.

And then, without a break, Martin Barre sounded the intro to Aqualung! It was at this exact point that the entire crowd-except the ones that were seated- went hysterical! And I for one, screamed my lungs out! The acoustic piece in the middle and then the build up to the lead was perhaps the 2 most blissful minutes of my past few weeks! Even though the lead wasn’t exactly the same as the original, it was still Martin Barre playing that and it turned out great! The song was played with a noticable reduction in the tempo as compared to the original. I guess that only extended my bliss time. And when the song finally ended, I realized that I had indeed found some purpose in life-really!

There was a ten minute break and then Anoushka Shankar joined Tull to play out some fusion stuff which I have to say, given the limited amount of time to rehearse, came out extra-ordinarily well synchronized and co-ordinated. They started off with what Ian chose to call TEA WITH ANOUSHKA and then went on to play CELTIC CRADLE- a fusion between the aboriginal Celtic music, complete with the Harmonica and Indian music with the entire Troupe performing. The  Indian flautist, Ravi Chandra Kullur showcased his prowess on the flutes on LITTLE GLASS FOLK which drew a real wild cheer from the crowd on more than one occassion! Tull then went on to play MOTHER GOOSE to wind up that set.

But no script or speculation could have prepared me or anyone for what was witnessed over the span of the next two songs! Ok everyone knew Anderson had not played Bouree and Locomotive Breath. And so it was no surprise when he mentioned the name of Sebastian Bach and everyone understood what was coming next. But what no one understood or even thought of was Anoushka’s contribution to Bouree. And that was what made this concert so damn unique!

Anderson’s Bouree could have soothed a raging elephant and when Anoushka started to accompany Anderson on Bouree, I was a little apprehensive. But it took all of 3 seconds to change my mind as Anoushka’s sitar part of Bouree proved to be a mind blowing experience! And as Logik put it, “It was the best Bouree I have heard! BTW, there are over 70 of them!” And so was the case when John came up with the keyboards for Locomotive Breath because Anoushka accompanied the band even on that song! The chord progression of the song- Em-G-D-Em/A- was played on the sitar (Dont ask me how) and it sounded as if it was supposed to have been there all this time. It was really a dream come true to have been there right at the front with Tull playing all those classics but as the show wound up, I promised myself to go to at least another Tull concert where he would play all the songs that he missed out this time around!

Now apart from the actual concert, there were a few things that I came about that I found worth mentioning. Firstly, the whole event was sponsored by 100 Pipers. And they didn’t have a single stall selling alcohol! WTF??? I was so very looking forward to drinking 100 Pipers and now I strongly believe that the Samosawala made more money than SEAGRAM’S.

Secondly, I came across some real disgusting scenes that took place right in front of me. Those of you who were right at the front of the 1100  section crowd  and standing near the left edge of the barricades will perhaps recollect thsi as well. During the second half of the concert, when Anoushka and Tull were jamming together, 2 girls came from nowhere and suddenly stood in front  of me. I was like WTF?? These chics were dressed up with a lot to hope for. And they began to pass comments that included: “Oooooooooooooh!” “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” “Cho Chweeeeeeeeet!”. One of them-the real ugly looking one- suddenly decided not to give me the satisfaction of having attended a smoke-free concert by chain smoking her way through the concert. And not just that, the physical proximity between the two of them, or the lack of it, suddenly started planting some scary questions in my head! But it just didn’t stop at that! My questions were quickly answered and my worst fears came true right in front of me! I actually saw them friggin’ making out right in front me!!!

( PUKE BREAK)

There were these real old people less than 2 feet from them but that didn’t deter their session! Aaaah! But then, me being me, I tried to find an explanation about their present behaviour. After much analysis, I arrived at two possibilities:

1. They were both stoned or

2. They were the 2 biggest phonies I have ever come across in my life!

Oh wait! I just came up with a third possibility: They were the 2 biggest phonies I have ever met AND they were stoned!!! Yeah that makes a lot of sense! But watching them do stuff got me grossed out pretty bad! I think I will  stick to my RUSSIAN INSTITUTE Series (LOGIK are you listening???)

And apart from this, I also happened to be scouting the papers and the web for concert reviews and I found only one. Now I have to say, I am really known to make the journalist’s life miserable for writing a fake review (like the Scorpions Concert) or making big time blunders in their reviews(like the Strawberry Fields thing). But alas, I could find only 1 review on the web and in that too I found just 1 blunder. I can only say that the Hindu review on the concert was really well written except for this one small piece of blunder when the writer mistook NURSIE for MERCY! It is a small thing if you are just a writer but a real blunder if you claim yourself to be a writer and a Tull fan! But I guess I will let this mistake pass this time around.

Also I didn’t get hold of any photos from the concert. So if any of you happen to have any, please do let me know where I can find them.


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